Thursday, January 12, 2006

Drop everything and read

Recent reading material has caused me to reflect on reading and my childhood. Interestingly, I can't actually recall not being able to read. My mom says that I started reading before I turned three, so I guess that's why. The point is, reading was a strong influence on my life, from my earliest memories.

I can remember "D.E.A.R." in late elementary school. It was a time of day (or a specific day?) called "Drop Everything And Read," and it was schoolwide - every class participated. No matter what time of the day it was, everyone - students and teachers alike - were to stop what they were doing and read.

Of course, reading was not something that had to be pushed with me. In fact, my teachers, with a mixture of amusement, awe, and bewilderment, would tell my parents during conferences that they had to try to get all the other kids to read more, but they had to get me to read less. All through public school, I was more likely to be reading a book in class than paying attention. I don't recall how frequently I finished books during elementary and middle school, but I do know that by high school I could easily finish a regular (350-500 page) novel in a day - sometimes in less time, particularly during the summer.

After I graduated from high school, I wandered off the academic path, taking four years to work and party before deciding to return to college. I didn't read much during that time. I did start reading again, slowly at first, before I made the decision to go back to school. I guess it was inevitable that reading for pleasure should become a part of my life again before the will for (and the enjoyment of) learning could take place.

As an English major, a lot of what I read for three and a half years was mandated by my degree program. I loved most of it, detested some of it, and merely endured the rest. However, one of my greatest senses of accomplishment upon graduation was having earned the right to read books of my own choosing again.

Now, on Day 2 of my substitute-nannydom, I have not read in almost three days. Horrible feeling, especially since I was halfway through an excellent book when this entire ordeal started! I worked about seven hours today, and it was a big change from my usual routine of writing from bed until I get hungry, and then writing some more... Instead, I did dishes, cleaned up after children, rearranged children's furniture, folded laundry, and played chauffer... Basically I was in perpetual motion the entire day, as opposite as I could get from sitting in my pajamas and writing.

Now, it's a little after 8:00pm, but it feels at least a good three hours later than that. I am exhausted. I plan to take a nice, relaxing hot bath (which will no doubt make me even sleepier), get into bed, and watch a little TV. I have a little headache, and I just don't think I'll be able to bring myself to read tonight.

Hopefully I'll be able to catch up this weekend...

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